How Do You Navigate Through Spiritual Direction?

Introduction to Spiritual Direction


Who needs spiritual direction?

“Who needs spiritual direction? Everyone who desires a deeper relationship with God – everyone who has blind spots – everyone who takes their faith seriously – said another way, every serious Catholic with a pulse.” – Dan Burke

Introduction to Spiritual Direction will provide an overview of one of the most powerful tools available for spiritual growth. Participants in the course will come away with a very clear understanding of the foundational truths every spiritual director and every seeker of spiritual direction should know. The course will be taught by Dan Burke on Thursdays from 8:30 – 10:30 pm Eastern Standard Time Jan 4, 11, 18, 25, Feb 1, and 8. Apply today at

“Simply put, spiritual direction is a relationship through which we come to better know, love, and follow Christ through the help of a kind of spiritual coach. It is a process through which we come to know and love Christ and ultimately experience the heights of spiritual union with Him, even in this life. The director and the directee work together, through the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to understand God’s will, and then determine how to follow that leading in a concrete way on a day-to-day basis, into a deeper intimacy with Him.” – Dan Burke, Navigating the Interior Life

The course will cover: what spiritual direction is and is not, erroneous views of spiritual direction, how to conduct or participate in spiritual direction, how to establish a fruitful relationship with your director, how to progress in spiritual life, how to develop a rule of life and a daily examen, the progress of the soul in the context of the three ways of spiritual life, dark night of the soul, and navigating through stages of development of prayer.

“As she has never failed to do, again today the Church continues to recommend the practice of spiritual direction, not only to all those who wish to follow the Lord closely but to every Christian who wishes to live responsibly his baptism, that is, the new life in Christ. Everyone, in fact, and in a particular way all those who have received the divine call to a closer following needs to be supported personally by a sure guide in doctrine and expert in the things of God. A guide can help defend oneself from facile subjectivist interpretations, making available his own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus. [Spiritual direction] is a matter of establishing that same personal relationship that the Lord had with his disciples, that special bond with which he led them, following him, to embrace the will of the Father (cf. Luke 22:42), that is, to embrace the cross.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Dan has indicated that “St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said, “He who constitutes himself his own spiritual director is the disciple of a fool.’ Why would such a gentle saint make such a harsh statement? It is because he saw many good souls get stuck spiritually. He once also lamented that many who make initial progress in the interior life get stuck and very few make it past the most basic progress. St. John of the Cross also reveals in his writings that very few gain the great graces of the life that God desires to give them because they don’t understand the spiritual life. The good news is that God has provided all we need to gain every grace He intends for us. Beyond the sacraments and prayer, there is no more powerful tool than spiritual direction.” In this course, Dan reveals what it is, how you can engage in spiritual direction, and if you are so engaged, how you can get more out of this powerful gift of the Church.

Check out more information on another course at the Avila Institute called Contemplative Prayer and the Angelic Doctor. St. Thomas Aquinas’ insights into our Lord’s Heart offer the Church a model of apostolic life and Christian contemplation. John Johnson will teach this course on Fridays 8:30 – 10:30 pm Eastern Standard Time Nov 10, 17, Dec 1, 15, 22, and Jan 5. Apply today on


Art for this post from How Do You Navigate Through Spiritual Direction: Modification of the cover of Navigating The Interior Life Spiritual Direction And The Journey To God by DBurke, used with permission.

About Kristin Aebli

Kristin Aebli is the Event Coordinator and Marketing Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Receiving the position was providential and in God’s perfect timing. Although cradle Catholic, in college she reverted and became confirmed in the Church. Kristin graduated with a degree in Communications from Samford University and she still enjoys ministering to college students through the Samford Catholic Student Association. Kristin is happy to be a part of the Firelight college ministry, is involved with Apostoli Viae and also a Young Professionals Bible study. For fun, Kristin enjoys discussing theology with friends, recording her podcast “Catholic After Dark”, dancing, singing, cooking, writing and painting. She hopes to continue growing in her faith through the sacraments and involvement with faithful community.

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction.

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